What are the best solar panels for your home in 2018?
Once you have decided that the return from installing solar panels on your home is attractive to you, (and you have found some local installers that have a good reputation by reading their reviews) the decision you have to make is what are the best solar panels to install.
This requires us to consider two separate questions;
- What is the best type of solar cell and solar panel technology; and
- What is the best brand of solar panels that utilizes your preferred solar cell technology.
Efficiency of solar panels refers to the amount of irradiation energy that a solar panel can convert to electricity. From most crystalline modules it is in the range of 15-20%. The more efficient a solar panel the less square footage of solar panels are needed to produce a desired amount of solar power.
For those who don’t have enough space for thin-film solar panels (the majority of us), or if you want to limit the amount of space your solar power system takes up, crystalline-based solar panels are your best choice (and they would likely be the your best choice even if you had the extra space). There are not a whole lot of solar installers that offer thin-film solar panels for home owners at this point.
You will have a choice of different solar panel sizes. In recent years the average wattage of both monocrystalline and polycrystalline has increased to 250 to 320 watts per panel.
If space is a limiting factor then you should go for the highest rated power output for a particular physical size.
Even though polycrystalline solar panels tend to be less space-efficient and monocrystalline solar panels tend to produce more electrical power, this is not always the case. In practice the difference is usually only slight and since 2014 the abundance of new polycrystalline solar cell manufacturing and polycrystalline solar PV module assembly has both lowered the cost of polycrystalline solar panels and improved their efficiency. In is common now to see polycrystalline solar panels with wattage ratings in the range of 260-300 watts per panel. It is common to now see monocrystalline solar panels with watt ratings in the order of 270-320 watts per panel with similar physical size characteristics.
Here is a discussion of The pros and cons of polycrystalline v's monocrystalline solar panels.
We always keep an up-to-date list of the most efficient solar panels on the market today and our site contains hundreds of reviews of different solar panel options.
Author: Andrew Sendy | Home Solar Journalist
Andy is deeply concerned about climate change but is also concerned about cost of living pressures on American families. He advocates for solar energy and solar battery storage only to the extent that they make financial sense for homeowners. He is not affiliated with any particular solar company in the United States.